Director’s Corner

Jayma Shields, Coordinator
Jayma Shields, Director

When most schools in our county would normally be back from celebrating Spring Break, we seem to find ourselves not really in the mood to celebrate much of anything due to the COVID-19 global crisis.

At Laytonville Healthy Start, our doors remain open to serve our community. We have reduced office hours to limit staff exposure to the public; we’re now open Monday through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and closed Fridays with no staff on site. Before orders to “Shelter in Place” and all the various public health guidelines, we set up a “sanitization station” outside our front door, with disinfecting wipes, gloves and now masks. We ask that folks who are sick stay home and call our office instead of visiting in-person.

While all of our in-person groups and programs have been cancelled, we are still here serving individual needs. Our office staff can assist with filling out paperwork for health insurance (Medi-Cal and Covered California) as well as CalFresh (food stamps). The County has allowed us to submit all applications in an online system, so much of this can be done over the phone or with brief in-person contact. There are also additional benefits to households, so I would encourage you to pick up the phone and call Nikki to see if you qualify for benefits designed to help people in need or who have lost income due to the COVID-19 crisis. There are now even benefits for kids who are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program.

In addition to offering application assistance, we are here to facilitate additional supportive services such as: Positive Parenting program with Cecelia Gillespie, a trained “Triple P” provider. Cecelia can schedule appointments over the phone and meet with parents/families in a variety of “virtual” ways. Call our office to connect with her wonderful services. We recognize that parents and families are having to go through major adjustments as they morph into full-time caregivers and teachers, and that can’t be easy. We welcome you to reach out for support (no really, don’t be shy, that’s why we are here offering these services!)

We also recognize that with forced social isolation, and families having to spend more time in close-quarters with each other that tensions and stress can run high. Project Sanctuary has offered their services to our community, and we are happy to connect you with a supportive counselor from their office.

Lastly, we are offering school supplies and will be making up “Grab Bags” for families to pick up when you go to the schools to get your child’s homework. We are also hoping to put together activity bags as well. Look for a Healthy Start table with supplies and items.

If you think of anything you or your family could use during these times, do not hesitate to reach out to our office—we are here for you Laytonville.

We have been known to pull a few rabbits out of our magic hats, so don’t hesitate to ask. If we can’t assist directly, chances are we can point you in the right direction.

Hang in there Laytonville (and beyond), we’re all in this together. For more info, call (707) 984-8089 or email

Laytonville Healthy Start provides a variety of services for the community.  To learn more, visit “Services” and “What We Do.”